Eastern Illinois University Rural Teacher Corps Plans Forward

Kick off event engages students, faculty, and area administrators.

December 4, 2018 |


Students, area administrators, and faculty had small group discussions on the future of EIU's new Rural Teacher Corps.<\/p>"

Eastern Illinois University has launched its new Rural Teacher Corps program by recruiting an inaugural class of students and involving them in the planning of the program. The EIU Rural Teacher Corps is open to freshmen through seniors who are education majors with an interest in teaching in a rural community. The first class has 25 participants and is facilitated by Dr. Brian Reid, an adjunct faculty member at EIU, Rural Schools Collaborative advocate, and chair of the Central Illinois Rural School Partnership. Dr. Reid has also helped the University secure external funding to support these kinds of efforts.

Being a member of the EIU Rural Teacher Corps will include the following activities:

  • opportunity to engage with other students who share a passion for teaching and rural schools
  • mentoring programs with rural teachers and administrators
  • engagement activities in rural communities
  • real life, intensive teaching experiences in rural schools
  • rural student teaching placements
  • job placement support for positions in rural schools

We believe one of the very best attributes of the new EIU Rural Teacher Corps is its commitment to involve Rural Teacher Corps members, area district administrators, and EIU faculty in planning the effort and, ultimately, in assessing its impact. Recently, on November 27th, the Rural Schools Collaborative had the opportunity to be a part of a kick off event that included a School Administrators Discussion, dinner, and a joint planning session.

An essential question drove the evening's conversation: What can we do together as part of the new EIU Rural Teacher Corps? Students, administrators, and faculty sorted through a number of ideas and made the following recommendations:

What can we do together as part of the new EIU Rural Teacher Corps?


  • Panel of teachers
  • Database of rural job openings
  • More opportunities for preservice engagement opportunities with students
  • Modeling/volunteer afterschool activities for preservice students
  • Mentoring—paired with recent graduates in the field
  • Upside Down interviews—students interview area administrators and teachers
  • Exposure to IEP’s and planning activities
  • Attend school board meetings


  • Social media blasts
  • School promo video productions
  • Utilizing Zoom, Skype, Google meeting, etc. for regional programs


  • Inviting EIU students to local school district events
  • Extracurricular activity involvement
  • Rural Teacher Corps Travel Night—events at multiple school districts
  • Rural Networking Night—hosted at EIU
  • Introduction to what is available for for future teachers in a given community (entertainment, resources, etc.)
  • Events that engage Corps members with the school and community
  • Introduction to what is available for for future teachers in a given community (entertainment, resources, etc.)
  • Events that engage Corps members with the school and community

The Eastern Illinois University Rural Teacher Corps joins a growing number of higher education partnerships that are committed to the rural teacher corps concept, which is a key element of the Rural Schools Collaborative mission. We invite you to learn more about our ongoing work to promote thoughtful and intentional work in the recruitment, preparation, and placement of rural teacher-leaders.

EIU students, faculty, and area school administrators enjoy a locally-produced meal before their brainstorming session in the EIU College of Education building.

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